Winter in the Gulf Coast at Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island National Seashore is 60 miles of beach on one side and a bay on the other

It is located in the Gulf Coast between Corpus Christi and Brownsville in south Texas.  There are many amazing things about Padre Island, and I am grateful that we got to experience some of them.  We originally intended to stay at the Malaquite campground inside the park, however, things do not always go as planned. We have learned to be flexible with our plans as they often change on the spur of the moment.  The campground was completely full when we arrived, so we studied the map for a few minutes, drove to the other campground on the bay side, and then decided we would take the trailer right down to the beach.  There are no amenities when camping on the beach, but the view is amazing and the price is reasonable (free!).  It is possible to drive the entire length of the beach.  Four wheel drive is recommended after the 5 mile marker, so we only took the trailer down about a mile or two.  We found a great spot, backed in, and set up camp.  I can’t think of anything better than camping on the beach in a national park in January.  It was awesome.

 Spending a week right on the beach was amazing and educational

The visitors  center was a short 5 minute drive from our camp, so after we got set up we decided to head over there.  It was small, but had some great information and friendly staff.  We got the Junior Ranger books for the kids to work on. The center had a cool touch table with all sorts of things that had come from the beach.  There just happened to be a ranger talk that night we were able to attend where we learned about the effort to help the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles population.  One of the causes for their decline is the clear plastic trash they eat because they mistake it for jellyfish, their main food source.  So they encourage visitors to help by picking up trash that, unfortunately, is constantly floating up on the beach.  The kids were able to earn a patch along with their badges for helping out with this effort and cleaning up the beach.  I was very happy to see so many people there doing their part to keep this place beautiful.

The birds that flock to the Gulf are beautiful, so keep your camera handy

Beach walks, shell collecting, and bird watching are some of the popular activities we participated in during our stay.  I love walking along the beach and watching the kids playing in the waves.  They had so much fun looking for shells and other things that wash up. It is all so beautiful and exciting to them.  Padre Island is one of the best birding places in the country.  There are hundreds of species that live or pass through this area throughout the year.  We saw so many beautiful birds from our awesome beach front campsite, it was truly amazing.  I never tire of watching my children play, learn, and observe nature in a positive way.  We plan to see much more of the Gulf Coast on our adventure so feel free to share if you have a favorite beach.

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9 thoughts on “Winter in the Gulf Coast at Padre Island National Seashore”

  1. Sounds like a great place to visit with the kids and nothing like combining a vacation with an educational visit. I am happy to know that they learned about sea turtles conservation, it’s great to catch them young and teach them about conservation of our environment. Just like you mention, the birds really are lovely!

  2. Love the idea of camping on the beach and especially Padre Island. Wow! So peaceful. Great to have the kids involved in the clean up efforts. What an amazing way to learn about the environment. Lovely post. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. I can’t believe you spent a week here! That sounds like my dream trip. I love how educational the visitor’s center is and how they discourage litter. I feel bad for the poor birds.

  4. This looks like a fun trip! And very interesting about the different species that pass through throughout the year! I would join in with the bonfire at the beach! 🙂


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